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Old 01-26-2012, 02:27 PM
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Here is a nice article about naming customs in Japan. Before the war, there was obviously a habit of using kanji characters linked to the name of the emperor´s reign: In 1912, when Emperor Meiji passed away and the reign of Emperor Taisho began, the most popular name for boys was
Shoichi (正一), which features the shō (正) character, meaning "right" or "just," from the Emperor's name. To that was added ichi (一), which means "one," signifying the first year of the Taisho Era (1912-26). Not surprisingly, the following year's most popular name for baby boys was Shoji (正二), comprising the same kanji character from the name of the Emperor with (二), which means "two," tagged on instead. Then, with startling predictability, the name that topped the popularity ranking for boys born in 1914, the third year of the Taisho Era, was Shozo (正三), since the character 三 means "three." Meanwhile, the most popular name for girls born in 1913 was Masako (正子), because that same kanji "正" can also be read as "masa."
Likewise, the death of Emperor Taisho and the subsequent ascent to the Imperial throne of Emperor Hirohito (known posthumously in Japan as Emperor Showa), on Dec. 25, 1926, resulted in a rush of parents naming their sons after him, with a spike in the names of babies bearing the kanji 昭 (shō), meaning "bright" or "calm," from 昭和 (shōwa), a compound kanji taken from the teachings of Confucius that translates as "calm and peaceful."

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Old 01-31-2012, 11:07 AM
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“How are Japanese Emperors named?”

Someone who was writing a novel for the National Novel Writing Month wanted to know in a forum: “How are Japanese Emperors named?” because, as he said, in his story “the now-princess Aiko will become Empress of Japan in a few decades“ and he needs to know if she will „be Empress Aiko, or have a different name?“

The answers make a nice thread where you can learn a lot about the naming of Japanese royals (Why is Princess Aiko called Princess Toshi?) and also read some gossip as there is also a reporter taking part in the conversation who lives in Chiba, Japan and “did a lot of work covering the family. I was there when they announced that Hisahito had been born and was a boy. I've also been on the palace grounds several times for royal family news conferences.“ Some quotes from her:

The Japanese royal family has had gradually increasing fertility problems. There has been at least one male in every generation since Emperor Hirohito who has never had children. Luckily for Naruhito, who does seem like a sweet (if geeky) guy, ART (assisted reproductive techniques) came along in time for him. It's a widely-believed secret that he and Masako did do IVF -- eight years married before the first child, seven or six before the first pregnancy (which she lost) -- either that's assisted, or they finally got lucky. Also, somebody I know once saw Masako at a hospital famous for its fertility treatments -- which, incidentally, was the hospital where Kiko was hospitalised on bedrest and where Hisahito was born. We have no idea if Kiko had IVF or some sort of assistance; given her age (she was 40 when Hisahito was born) either is about equally possible.

IVF can't be talked about in connection with the royal family in Japan, though. Even Kiko's C-section with Hisahito was a big deal to some people. They also chose to give birth to him in a real hospital rather than the palace hospital, which was unprecedented.

As for Hisahito, I don't think he'd end up with psychological problems knowing he'd been born to be Emperor. First, he's obviously being cherished simply as a child. Second, he's a very, very important member of the family. I'd be surprised if he didn't grow up with a huge superiority complex.
A few more tidbits on the royals, thanks to a women's gossip magazine:
1. The Emperor, Princess Masako and Prince Akishino all have driver's licenses. None of them drive outside the palace, of course. The Emperor apparently really likes cars.
2. The Crown Prince enjoyed eating at McDonald's during his time abroad at Oxford. He and Masako have occasionally ordered pizza to be delivered to the palace -- an image I just love!
3. The Imperial Family has always been relatively computer-savvy and got into computers and the internet fairly early. Not surprising, considering their lack of freedom.
Masako, if you remember, is a former diplomat. She was one of the elite of the elite in the Foreign Ministry -- trips overseas, interpreting for visiting dignitaries. I got to know a lot of those people fairly well -- they're articulate, well-educated, bright, and often very funny. If I imagine one of them suddenly plunked down into palace life...well, it really brings home the adjustment Masako had to make.
Empress Michiko caught a lot of flak too, but she at least was lucky enough to have the Crown Prince a year after her marriage and Akishino not too long after that, though I think there was a miscarriage in between. When she was leaving the hospital with the newborn Naruhito, she opened the car window a bit to let photographers get a glimpse of him. There's a classic picture of her with an old battleaxe of a courtier sitting there glaring at her...apparently they thought this would "endanger" the baby. (It was February, all right, but he did look pretty well wrapped).

Michiko suffered a lot of bullying from courtiers and came close to a nervous breakdown, or actually had one; she lost a lot of weight at one point in the first ten years of her marriage. Oddly, this doesn't seem to have made her all that sympathetic to Masako, as far as can be seen -- there have been some comments hinting at "I got over it, so why don't you." Of course, Michiko did have the two boys quite quickly, so she was then given a fair bit of leeway that Masako didn't get. Her foreign trips were literally limited in hopes that she'd get if that was the problem.

Ther's hints that the Crown Prince family is a bit estranged from the Emperor and Empress. Partly it's just that Michiko I think has never really understood Masako's longing for a career -- she was a commoner, but in the 50s nice rich girls like her were of course bred to expect nothing but motherhood -- and Kiko has always been the same way. In fact, my feeling is that Kiko is a little bit scheming -- apparently she set her cap for "a prince" from high school. (Her dad was a Gakushuin prof, so she was in the schools and knew Akishino from high school.) She drives me crazy -- always standing and smiling this "Stepford wife" smile. I was really, really hoping Hisahito would be a girl.
As they are all writing people in that forum, the associations they make are sometimes quite interesting. Regarding Princess Aiko (whose given name means “child of love”) someone says:
an anime I love has a princess MC who is proud because she is a child of love (in a world where combining DNA to create a child is more of a calculation of prestige and importance then a romance... so there are few parents who actually love each other) maybe she's based off Aiko... that's cool)

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Old 02-25-2014, 06:40 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Posts: 1
Anyone know Michiko's speech for her university graduation?

Hello. I have been looking for the graduation speech of Michiko Shoda as a valedictorian in 1956. If anyone knew it, please teach me!

Thank you!

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